Calera Main Street receives statewide recognitions at Main Street Alabama Conference

Published 2:24 pm Monday, September 11, 2023

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

CALERA – Calera Main Street was able to present good news to close out an eventful City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Jackie Batson, executive director of Calera Main Street, was happy to report that the organization received multiple awards and recognitions at the tenth annual Awards of Excellence Banquet that was held on Aug. 17. Helmed by Main Street Alabama’s President and State Coordinator Mary Wirth and Assistant State Coordinator Trisha Black, the banquet highlighted projects and individuals that have made significant contributions to their respective communities.

With a variety of categories, Calera Main Street was able to come home with two of the 17 statewide awards that were presented. The first of these awards to go to Calera was that of the Award of Excellence in Business Promotion, which was presented in recognition of Calera’s “Let’s Get Married on Main Street!” contest.

The contest highlighted the ability of Calera’s event center to serve as a proper wedding venue which saw 50 couples participate in the complete wedding package giveaway. It also served to boost Calera Main Street’s social media following, provide exposure for local merchants and to develop marketing materials that can be used in the future.

“We have this beautiful event center that is available,” Batson said. “We have a bakery downtown, we have a florist downtown and we have a number of other opportunities that can help create a wonderful wedding. With this campaign, we had 16 different businesses come together and donate their goods and services and that created a wedding package with a value of over $20,000 and that wedding is going to take place on (Saturday, Sept.) 23. I’m very excited about that.”

Calera Main Street also received the Award of Excellence for Placemaking in recognition of the city’s Coca-Cola mural restoration project.

“Coca-Cola helped us with that research, secured the artist, not only restored the historic mural but added the courtyard logo and the first of its kind selfie spot (in Alabama),” Batson said.

The restoration received this recognition in part due to the creation of these additions which created a new public space which promotes the community’s health and happiness.

Calera was also recognized, in addition to Demopolis, Columbiana and Enterprise, for reaching the milestone of raising $3 million in reinvestment efforts. Economic impact numbers, property purchased by private investors and the city’s monthly investment in downtown improvements were used in the calculations for the recognition.

“It’s actually much higher than that, but it’s based on when the cutoff was,” Batson said. “We’re already over the $5 million mark. With public and private investments, that is something we should all be very proud of. We should all be proud of what is going on downtown.”

To close out her announcement of Calera Main Street’s accomplishments, Batson also presented Calera’s Hero Award to Ann Davis for her dedication and work with Calera Main Street.

“Ann is an amazing community leader and has been very involved behind the scenes since the very beginning,” Batson said. “She moved here as a teen, making her a local that truly cares about the future of her hometown.  She and her husband own the local grocery store and are founding sponsors of the Calera Main Street program. Ann has been involved behind the scenes since the beginning, officially joining the board last year and has kept a focus on our fundraising. I just want to praise and be thankful, publicly, for her.”

Calera Main Street is a non-profit organization that focuses on returning financial health and public involvement back to Alabama’s historic communities.